I just don't want to be "the girl with the messed up hand" for the next two months.
April 23, 2012 7:13 PM   Subscribe

I have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. I have to wear a brace on my wrist for the next long while. All the braces I've found are hideous and scream "SMPA is injured and has no style," which is taking me right back to that time when I was a kid in school and I'm hating it (and don't get me started on the bowling jokes at work.) Are there functional yet cute or pretty braces out there? What is the solution to this, besides "suck it up, you should have paid more attention to ergonomics?"

My sense of what counts as stylish is pretty darned loose: even just being able to pick different colors, like you can with casts, would help a lot. I'm thinking part of my problem is that I don't know what Google keywords to use - but that could be the pain interfering with my intellectual capacity. Help me, please!

(I don't need full immobilization - I can handle the ugly full-blown medical looking stuff in bed at night.)
posted by SMPA to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think you're looking for a spica splint. The brace I had for this only went along one side of the limb - the thumb side, and had bands to hold it on. Very similar to this:

Looks like there are some (limited) color choices there. Mine personally was beige with blue bands. I think I could change out the bands if I wanted with some thick stretchy material.

Since the hard part of the splint was only along one side, this was less obtrusive under sleeves, and much cooler in warmer weather.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 7:25 PM on April 23, 2012

Best answer: You might have to get a little crafty with this one.

Here is a bog-standard black wrist brace someone dressed up with a bow and a button you can use as inspiration; I think one of those big-ass "whoa somebody thinks they're Carrie Bradshaw circa a decade ago" flower clips instead of a bow would be hella cute, too.

They make glitter fabric paint. If I saw someone in a red glitter wrist brace cracking Wizard of Oz jokes I think they'd be the most badass person in the world.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:28 PM on April 23, 2012

Best answer: I had to wear double wrist braces for a while--I had friends and local rock stars sign and draw on them like they were casts (using sharpies, paint pens, fabric markers, etc)--it was pretty cute as those things go.
posted by leesh at 7:34 PM on April 23, 2012

Wow, two hand questions in one day. I'm a hand surgeon but I'm not your hand surgeon. Have you seen a doctor? If not, you should. It should be an orthopaedic surgeon or a plastic surgeon, ideally one who specializes in hand and wrist problems. I will share my treatment algorithm for deQuervain's, which may differ from your physician's, assuming you saw one. I rarely prescribe rigid spints for this. Why? They are hard along the radial side of your wrist, right where it hurts, so they put pressure on the area and cause significant pain. Rest and activity modification are good if your case and symptoms are mild.

Pain that interferes with work or play, in my opinion, is better treated more aggressively. 85-90% of cases can be resolved with an injection. Typically lidocaine and Celestone or Depo-Medrol (steroids) are injected into the tendon sheath in question. For an hour or two after the injection, everything feels great. That's the lidocaine. That will wear off. Then, for a day or two, the pain will be worse. Not horrible, but likely somewhat worse. And then, it should be better. If your symptoms return with a week or two, surgery is the only thing that will fix it. If your symptoms return in a few months, I generally recommend a second injection but surgery is an option at that point. Return of symptoms after a second injection warrant surgery.

Surgery is a word that scares most folks and I get that. But surgery for deQuervain's is akin to getting a tooth filled in a dentist's office. It's a 5-10 minute procedure done either with local anesthesia or light sedation. I don't even splint my patients in the immediate post-op period, but that isn't standard, that's just what I believe to be best.

But all of this info is only helpful if you actually have deQuervain's. You have seen a doctor, yes?
posted by karlos at 7:42 PM on April 23, 2012 [5 favorites]

I was just coming in to say one really, really painful injection pretty much cured my case. I still have a little stiffness but not pain. It was worth it.
posted by tamitang at 7:57 PM on April 23, 2012

IAND but I've dealt with this before. Cortisone injection did not work for me, but a month long prescription of Celebrex did work.

But before I figured all that out, I used this brace It kept my wrist and my thumb immobile but I could use the rest of my fingers.
posted by astapasta24 at 8:06 PM on April 23, 2012

Response by poster: My doctor (GP) told me to do the brace for "a while" and if it doesn't help (along with ice and Advil) she'll send me to an orthopedic surgeon.

And I am so totally putting a ribbon on my wrist tomorrow as an interim measure - thank you for that link, Juliet Banana!
posted by SMPA at 8:12 PM on April 23, 2012

Best answer: Socks. Get a few pair of whatever sort of cheap, funky socks appeal to you (girls' knee-highs, or tights maybe), cut off the foot part, slip the sock over the brace, and tuck the end in. As a bonus, this will keep the brace clean.
posted by Corvid at 8:14 PM on April 23, 2012 [9 favorites]

I have hurty wrists, but they are not your hurty wrists. That said, brace/ice/NSAIDs sound to me more like a treatment for standard overuse, not for a synovitis dx. I would get to the specialist ASAP, because my guess is that none of this will help much.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:17 PM on April 23, 2012

Along the lines of the sock solution, google "mitts" and if you have a crafty friend, have them knit some for you.
posted by Madamina at 9:23 PM on April 23, 2012

I suffered with two braces (both ugly) from November to March and my goddamn wrist still hurt. I never got a cute brace, but I saw an orthopedist and got an injection (described to me as cortisone, probably one of the steroids karlos mentioned upthread) and it completely resolved my pain, despite the fact that I didn't change my ergonomics and my son (the source of the tendinitis) continues to get heavier.

I know you're asking about cute braces, but as someone who just got use of both hands back, please see a specialist.
posted by purpleclover at 9:39 PM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I see from your profile that you're female. Did you by chance have a baby recently? Because I got DeQuervain's both times I was post-partum, and it disappeared both times as soon as I stopped breastfeeding. Something about the hormones affecting the ligaments. But yeah, no brace nor medicine needed as soon as the kiddos were weaned. Weird.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:29 PM on April 23, 2012

Best answer: I used colorful velcro strips to jazz up my brace. You can make patterns or racing stripes and even attach small tools with them.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 11:39 PM on April 23, 2012

Best answer: This may be a place to have fun looking.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:18 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't try to get a "cute" brace (if that exists?!), because those things are designed that way for a reason and you probably shouldn't mess with that. But by all means, decorate! If you're not crafty, find someone who is.

A suggestion for brace wearing: you may want to wear some cheap gloves (fingerless, perhaps) under the brace, because those things can give you a lovely rash if your skin doesn't like them.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:49 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was originally diagnosed with DeQuervain's syndrome in both wrists, but never had the surgery. Now my diagnosis is osteoarthritis and I am, with the help of my p.t., weaning myself off of using these "gamekeeper splints," which I had been wearing all the time, for six years. As a wedding photographer, who uses a rather heavy flash and camera array, I bought black satin fingerless gloves to disguise my splints during gigs.
posted by Lynsey at 10:42 AM on April 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you very much for your suggestions about fashion solutions, everyone - I have socks and am planning to place an order for those Cast Covers soon. I didn't even think to look for pretty cast stuff.

As for the rest of it, thank you for your input. I'll keep it in mind for my next doctor's visit. :)
posted by SMPA at 5:58 PM on April 24, 2012

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